Homeschooling with Literature and Living Books

Welcome to Everyday Education

Homeschooling information and resources since 2001!

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Hi! I’m Janice Campbell, and I’m glad you stopped by. Homeschooling is a delightful adventure and a great opportunity, but I know it can be overwhelming too. I had the privilege of homeschooling our four sons from preschool through high school, and into early college. There wasn’t a lot available when we started, so like many other homeschool moms, I created a few things I thought were needed.  Since 2001, Everyday Education has been online and at conferences across the country, offering books and resources to help you have a joyful homeschool life. 

How we homeschooled

I believe in twaddle-free, active learning (pretty necessary with a houseful of boys!), so our homeschooling incorporated a lifestyle of learning approach influenced by Charlotte Mason, classical learning, and a lifelong love of reading and beautiful writing. My four boys have all graduated, and now I enjoy seeing my grandchildren receive a beautiful education. A learning lifestyle is a joy to share!

Need to study classic literature?

Introduction to Literature, English 1 in the Excellence in Literature curriculum.

Excellence in Literature is a five-year self-directed, college-prep classic literature curriculum that helps you teach the great books to your high school students, even if you don’t know Virginia Woolf from Beowulf.

I love literature, and I want to teach it in a way that will help students understand and love it too. Excellence in Literature presents full-length great books in their historic, artistic, and cultural context, with thought-provoking writing assignments and a format that helps homeschooling  students learn to think and work like college students. 

Worried about planning or record-keeping?

Transcripts Made Easy: The Homeschooler's Guide to HIgh School Paperwork has been helping homeschooling families since 2001.If you’re concerned about homeschool planning and record-keeping, Transcripts Made Easy, a trusted resource since 2001, is now in an exciting new fourth edition. We also offer beautiful little Peaceful Planning booklets and a Reading Log, as well as How to Change a Tire, a delightful record-keeping journal for tracking 133 life skills you need to teach while homeschooling. 

Is it time to learn cursive or italic penmanship?

Is penmanship important? I believe it is (and you can read why in this article at my blog). Writing by hand helps students learn, but handwriting should be fluent and well-practiced in order to be most effective in learning. I’ve taught both italic and cursive penmanship, and I believe that with the right instruction, anyone can learn to write beautifully. 

Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting by Caroline Joy Adams - An italic handwriting program for homeschooling students.My left-handed son learned to write with Perfect Reading, Beautiful Handwriting, a one-book program for teaching italic penmanship, and for many years he had the best penmanship of all my boys. The book helped to cement his reading ability too, as practice work is done with phonics-based lessons that reinforce reading and spelling skills. 

Cursive Made Easy bundle includes CursiveLogic and The Art of Cursive so your homeschooling student can learn and have fun!The best cursive program I’ve discovered is the CursiveLogic program that teaches an attractive cursive hand in a logical, step-by-step way. Students learn all the letters through four shape families, then learn to correctly join letters from each shape group into a beautiful, fluid hand. Students can start as young as six, but the program isn’t childish, so it can be used by older students, too.

The 1857 McGuffey Readers for K-12 are a great resource for penmanship practice (as well as spelling and vocabulary) through copywork, as they offer hundreds of stories and poems that gradually grow more more complex. 

Want to study with living books?

Viking Tales by Jennie Hall is a history reading in Ambleside-Online year 1 homeschooling lesson plans. As a lifelong reader, learning with living books was a natural thing for me. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household with many excellent living books, and with a grandmother who enjoyed them almost as much as I did. As a child, I read these good books for fun, not realizing how much I was learning. As a homeschool mom, I was delighted to discover how easy it was to teach with living books. 

Many of my favorites have been out of print for years, or only available in painfully awful scanned editions. Finally, though, I’ve found beautiful, reasonably-priced editions of the wonderful literature, history, geography, nature, and science living books that are used in AmblesideOnline.org and other living book lesson plans. No matter how you use living books — for homeschooling or for fun — I think you’ll find them a delightful addition to your home library. 

Just want to read a few articles?

On this site and at my blog, Doing What Matters, I share things I’ve learned while homeschooling. I believe in making time for things that matter by streamlining life’s necessities — things like record keeping and transcripts, so that you will have more time for the truly important things — not just faith and family, but also growing in wisdom and virtue. 

I hope you enjoy browsing my websites. Before you leave, please sign up for The Everyday Educator, our free e-newsletter, with articles, news, and resources. You’ll receive it occasionally, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

—Janice

You can see the most recent blog posts in the left column. I’ve written about various aspects of homeschooling — reading, writing, learning, planning, living, working and becoming the mom you want your child to remember at the Doing What Matters blog. You might also want to visit the Excellence in Literature website. It is where we post context resources and keep links updated for the Excellence in Literature curriculum. Thank you for visiting!